Sometimes it's the quiet ones you have to worry most about.
That seems to be the case when examining the short yet impressive UFC career of middleweight contender Chris Weidman.
Prior to the fight almost every viable middleweight was calling and shouting for their name to be the one to face champion Anderson Silva next. From Munoz to Michael Bisping to Alan Belcher, middleweights were shouting left and right about how they should be the choice to face Silva next.
Meanwhile, Weidman was just putting his head down, focusing on training and getting ready to make his impact in the Octagon. On the Richter scale, Weidman hit with about a 9.0.
Now with five wins in the UFC, three finishes, and two wins over top ten opponents, Weidman believes he has the resume to make the case that it's time to face Anderson Silva right now.
“Before the fight, there was literally five or six guys that were all trying to petition to fight Anderson Silva next, and I just kind of stayed quiet. I mean, I did just beat Demian Maia, who was a top five guy, and none of those guys have even beaten a top five guy I don't think for the most part. Bisping hasn't even beat a top ten guy I think,” Weidman said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“I was just really focused on making a statement in this fight. I really wanted to make it blatantly obvious that I was ahead of the pack, and I think I did jump past those guys that were a little bit better at talking before my fight than I was.”
Last weekend, UFC president Dana White said that there was no clear cut No. 1 contender to face Anderson Silva next, but if they had to declare someone it would be Chris Weidman.
Now the former Division-1 All-American is doing his part to put it in everyone's ears that he not only is at the top of the list, he is the list.
“I feel like I really deserve it. I beat two top five guys and I think I'm a stylistic nightmare for Anderson Silva. I would love to get that shot. No one else is on a five fight win streak and beat the quality of guys I've beaten. I'm ready to speak up a little bit, just be confident in my abilities and respectfully call out Anderson Silva,” Weidman declared.
There is a certain honor and prestige that goes along with fighting for a title in the UFC because so few fighters actually get to that level. Add to that the fact that Anderson Silva is by far the most dominant champion to ever step foot in the Octagon, and as his career starts to wind down the selection of opponents to face him will get even slimmer.
Of course Weidman would consider it an honor to face Silva, but he's not looking to slap gloves, get knocked out and say “I stood in the cage with Anderson Silva once upon a time.”
No, Chris Weidman wants to be the fighter that dethrones, chokes out, knocks out, and just plain finishes Anderson Silva.
“If I'm fighting Anderson Silva, I'm going in there knowing I belong in there. I'm not going in there to beat him, I'm actually going in there I'm going to try to make a statement. I'm going to try to finish him. I know a lot of people who can't imagine that happening and think I might be crazy, but as a competitor that's the way I compete, that's the way I train to really be the best, and I think I am,” Weidman stated.
“On paper, I'm definitely a stylistic nightmare and he's going to be going against a guy who's in there to beat him, and not like some of these other guys that he's fought that just want to share the cage with him.”
Since Silva's last victory over Chael Sonnen, the champion's camp have listed a few possible names of opponents that could interest the middleweight king. While the UFC ultimately makes the decisions, Weidman understands why his name may not be mentioned when it comes to Silva's team.
Sure, he's not the most well known guy in the sport, and he won't sell a fight like Chael Sonnen by talking trash and building up a rivalry.
Weidman knows he would be a huge underdog, he knows he might even be the unlikeliest of contenders, but there is one indisputable truth that the New York native also truly believes.
He can beat Anderson Silva.
“I'm the only guy on a five fight win streak. I'm undefeated. I'm young. I want to be a young champion. I want to have this belt for a long time,” said Weidman. “You have to build names, you have to take risks as far as a company, as far as a promotion. You have to take risks with guys and I'm a good guy to do that with.”